Spatial Heterogeneity and Kinetic Regulation of Arsenic Dynamics in Mangrove Sediments: The Sundarbans, Bangladesh

Mahmud Hossain, Paul N. Williams, Adrien Mestrot, Gareth J. Norton, Claire M. Deacon, Andrew A. Meharg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The biogeochemistry of arsenic (As) in sediments is regulated by multiple factors such as particle size, dissolved organic matter (DOM), iron mobilization, and sediment binding characteristics, among others. Understanding the heterogeneity of factors affecting As deposition and the kinetics of mobilization, both horizontally and vertically, across sediment depositional environments was investigated in Sundarban mangrove ecosystems, Bengal Delta, Bangladesh. Sediment cores were collected from 3 different Sundarbans locations and As concentration down the profiles were found to be more associated with elevated Fe and Mn than with organic matter (OM). At one site chosen for field monitoring, sediment cores, pore and surface water, and in situ diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) measurements (which were used to model As sediment pore-water concentrations and resupply from the solid phase) were sampled from four different subhabitats. Coarse-textured riverbank sediment porewaters were high in As, but with a limited resupply of As from the solid phase compared to fine-textured and high organic matter content forest floor sediments, where porewater As was low, but with much higher As resupply. Depositional environment (overbank verses forest floor) and biological activity (input of OM from forest biomass) considerably affected As dynamics over very short spatial distances in the mosaic of microhabitats that constitute a mangrove ecosystem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8645-8652
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental science & technology
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2012




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